Substantial increases in riverine sediment loads in a warmer and wetter Third Pole Journal Article uri icon



  • <p>Rivers originating in the Third Pole (Tibetan Plateau and surrounding high-Asian mountains) are crucial lifelines for one-third of the world’s population. These fragile headwaters are now experiencing amplified climate change, glacier melt, and permafrost thaw. Observational data from 28 headwater basins demonstrate substantial increases in both annual runoff and annual sediment fluxes across the past six decades. The increases have accelerated since the mid-1990s, in response to a warmer and wetter climate. The total riverine sediment load from HMA is projected to more than double by the mid-21st century under an extreme climate change scenario. The substantially increasing riverine sediment loads could negatively impact the hydropower-food-environmental security in the Third Pole region. Such findings also have implications for other cold environments such as the Arctic, Antarctic, and other high mountain areas.</p>

publication date

  • March 27, 2022

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • April 12, 2022 9:16 AM

Full Author List

  • Li D; Lu X; Overeem I; Walling D; Syvitski J; Kettner A; Bookhagen B; Zhou Y; Zhang T

author count

  • 9

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